No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Geiger, T. (1928), Führen und Folgen, Berlin: Weltgeist Bücher.



Fundamental changes in the structure of social life are manifested strongly in the increase of tension between leaders and other members of social groups. This can lead to a rapid succession of leadership changes and perhaps even splits in the groups. Both leaders and group members are less to blame than is attributable to the fluctuating insecurity of the social structure, which in turn are just the natural side effects of a turbulent time, when the old falls over and new life struggles to take root or even come to bloom.


Times of intellectual and social turmoil are also times of leadership crises. We then hear leaders complain about the lack of confidence in their hordes, and the hordes complain about the inability or self-interest of the leaders. This applies to all social circles, from politics to the smallest, seemingly insignificant associations.


Theodor Geiger presents his research on leadership in this book, to clarify connections and overturn seasoned platitudes and misconceptions. He sees the opposition of “leader and crowd” recurring in public discourse, either to elevate the "collective will" in society to divine splendor, or, the other way around, to give the mighty personality of the leader the glory of the only creative element. and to see the masses like leaden weights at the feet of this sublime one, that stopped his ascent and dragged him to a dull trough.


Geiger debunks the “leader-crowd” opposition and instead examines the creative tension between the leader's personality and the group. Geiger wants to show that his sharper concepts have immediate value for social life.




Geiger's social theory makes it its task to study human groups in terms of their essence and their peculiarities as groups. It examines the units of the groups by creating a group concept. This method enables insights to be subsequently tested and applied to reality.


“If I want to understand certain characteristics of people from their affiliation with a group, I must have studied and understood this group as such. I do this by looking at the group and looking at the whole. In this case, I am only interested in those people who belong to the group, primarily in their capacity as group members, not in their other nature and behavior.”


Above all, the sociologist sees the "group" and the individual people in the first place only insofar as they "go in the group" - not in their other nature. In this way he makes a distinction, as it were, between man as such - in his entire personality - and man as a group member. At the same time, of course, he knows that each person behaves as a member of a group in accordance with his overall personality.


What is the nature of the connection between people and the group? - In the fact that in the group they are not only related as individuals, but that they almost merge into a psychological unit; in so far it is said: “they form a We”. When two people are arguing about an issue of the group they belong to together, no matter how violent the disagreement may be - somehow behind the disagreement as a unifying factor lies the sense of oneness for the sake of the group; opinions and thoughts diverge, not the deepest feelings and attitudes. Fierce fighting between members of the group therefore tends to stop immediately and unity takes its place as soon as danger from outside threatens the group.


 Insofar as the group signifies a unity of people participating in it, Geiger calls it “Samtschaft”  (Ferdinand Tönnies: Formally disorganized large groups of actors with common, formative characteristics). However, insofar as we think of a group of people as a multitude of wayward individuals with special ambitions, we call it "group membership."


The community (Samtschaft) in turn presents itself as a unity in a double sense: As a connection between the members in the community and the mechanically oriented factual consideration: the connection through an order (society).


The distinction of the inner psychological connections of the group members is very important for certain facts on the question of leadership.


Geiger juxtaposes three types:

  1. Direct connection of the people in essence (community relationship); it does not require a personal acquaintance and contact (We relationship).
  2. Personal relationships, the content of which affects the group itself, its feelings and its entities (a group-related I-you relationship).
  3. Personal relationships, which can be mediated by being together in the group, but whose special content is not directly related to the group and its efforts (I-you relationship outside the group).


By a group we mean a multitude of people who are connected in a special way, so that we regard them as a whole as a unit. Geiger gives the example of a sports club called “Forward”.


Man tends to belong to many groups at once; and in each of these groups he/she is associated with a different side of his/her life. Here with his religious impulses, there with his economic interests, sporting inclinations, political convictions… In no group is he wholly absorbed, but in each one only with a part of his being - an imponderable, indefinable and inseparable part.


If we now want to assess the relationship between the leader and the group, it turns out to be twofold:

  1. Leader – Community;
  2. Leader Personality — Group Personalities.

Usually the contradiction between leader and group is described as regrettable or even pathological. But the second type of tension is actually part of the meaning and nature of certain types of groups, i.e. is everything else, but not "pathological".



Types of leadership can be distinguished in three ways:

  1. the task of the leader.
  2. the legal title of leadership. Where does the personality at the top get its authority (power) to be the leader?
  3. the type of leader selection.



(The task of the leader)

  1. The Representative.

The leader represents the group unit, that which the members share in the concrete world.

This may involve representation internally - to the members - and externally - to the social environment of the group.

In a life that is also characterized by a strong urge for individual fulfillment of life, man divides heart and striving among so many groups. In the times of rest, the leader represents the We.


In a family, in friendship, in a monastery, we are talking about ubiquitous, all-pervading community, which hardly needs visualization and symbolism. In other contexts, such as the state, the representative of the community during the rest phases of the “we” is of particular importance, because it makes the continuation of the spiritual connection present.


The state does not appear to us as an independent group structure (as "a society"); the "whole" group structure is rather called the "national people" and creates its own political and cultural unity, with fine ramifications and structuring of the people in their way of life and vital interests the political unity should be emphasized by a tightly organized institutional regulatory apparatus ; it is this setting that we mean when we speak of "state" in the narrow sense. The president is the representative of this community.


We encounter an essentially different type in the form of paternal (parental) leadership, although of course it also contains the element of representation. For example, in the modern era, the representative factor in parental leadership is almost non-existent while it plays a crucial role in the patriarchal extended family.

The dominant characteristic of parental leadership is the caring or pastoral type. The caring type is the leader's strongest direct relationship with individual group members.


Where actually every form of leadership contains to some extent the nurturing element - for the leader as head of the group appears in the sense of the senses as the one who "does something for the whole", "takes care of them", their common interests – but the nurturing type is not about material care, but about personal care. Not some socialized individual interest of the group member, but his personality in general is the object of parental care. Think of pastoral care, the care of the teacher for the school class, but also the care for employees in smaller, close-knit organizations. In almost all cases where few people live in a group, the leader is expected to show some interest in the personal well-being of each of his "little sheep"; an instrument of member solidarity that goes beyond objective group efforts. The ruler (the "land father") or army commander is especially highly regarded if he has a personal memory and shows an interest in the fate of his individual country children.


Three subtypes can be identified within the organizing leadership:

  1. The creative —: "forethinker".

2.The organizational —: ”arranger“.

[3. The technical —: "for-doer".]


Thinking leadership is necessary for any group that wants to work systematically in its social or natural environment. The emotional irrationality of the community, which nevertheless contrasts with the thoroughly rational purposeful action of the group in its environment has probably led most researchers to regard the leader (or leaders) as the source of the common will in general. "The leader gives the movement a plan and purpose, the crowd gives it weight."


The will of the “we” cannot normally be directly and practically enforced. An exception are those cases where the whole activity of the group is emotionally determined - with stressed voice groups who have not focused their will on a work in the environment, but are limited to expressing emotional content. The will to work that is emotionally given in the “we” must first be translated into the rational in order to make itself felt in the environment. The creative thinking leader has only the task of giving the basic goal of the group an intellectual formulation that allows its planned realization in the natural or social environment of the group. The "idea" is given, the leader's job is to direct his troop the way to it. He does not give the movement the goal – the movement gives it to him - but he does propose to the members as a whole the means by which the goal can be pursued, and thus also the individual or intermediate goals, milestones on the way to the final goal. He interprets the existing basic will of the community for individual cases of joint action.


Geiger states it is not for social scientists to describe an entire social era as pathological because of its stylistic features; it is a matter of personal and absolute value judgment.


Not only does the thoughtful leader translate the basic emotional will of the community into the rational one, but all members of the group do this with greater or lesser zeal and skill. The fundamental will lives in all members, insofar as they are all adherents of the “we”; by reflecting in their lives, as intelligent individuals, this “we” in which they participate, they “translate”. In this way a comparison takes place of the emotionally experienced common will and its rational translation into the deliberate consciousness of all individual group members. This comparison allows the leader's proposal to be checked for compliance with the basic will of the community. The result of the translation from the emotional to the rational will be very different for many. The contrast between the personalities of the members and the leadership then consists in the members judging: “If I were the leader, I would have interpreted the general will in a different way.”


In fact, the interpretation comes more from the office than from the leader's personality. Under the influence of office and responsibility, the soul of the leader personality becomes the site of a compromise between himself as an individual and as an organ of the group. The leader is halfway ahead of the compromise needed to acceptably unite many selves in one common will.

From the moment a person is appointed leader, the same person judges group affairs differently. Jealousy often makes the irresponsible individual forget this difficult and self-denying predicament of the leader. The leader must fulfill the task to which he/she is called with his/her solitary personality but with the spirit of community.


A pathological conflict arises from contradictions in the connection between people. When the leader's will is forced against the whole by demagogic means, the "disease" enters the chronic stage. The most absolute ruler is still incapable of imposing arbitrary rules on the conduct of the subjects. It also depends on the emotional common will. This also applies to tyrants and despots, insofar as they do not rule by sheer physical violence (that would however only be possible for a limited time.)


If the chairman often not only has the floor, but also suggestively determines the decision of the board, there is a deviation, caused by a lack of activity of the board members and by the personal influence of the chairman. - This influence can also be exercised by any other member of the Board. Then the chairman usually becomes a straw man.


The president of the association combines elements of the thoughtful and the organizational type. The first type, insofar as the statutes of the association allow him to make his own decisions to a certain extent, the second type as head of the negotiations, namely in a double circle: first in the plenary meeting of the members, but at the other end also in the narrow circle of the Executive Board. The mix of thoughtful and organizational elements can be observed almost everywhere.


Furthermore, one last type of leadership should be mentioned from the point of view of the leadership function: the type of leadership for where the members unite for a common act of expression. It is a temporary leadership role: someone is confirmed in his role as a leader, but if he does not strike the right chord, "does not find the right word", he is rejected due to the lack of echo. This is self-evident in cases where there are ephemeral, casual communities of experience.

This also goes for fixed groups that emphasize the atmosphere. They have no leader during the rest periods between their actions, because they don't need one. Now one, then the other, takes on the role of leader in a single act of experience. In fact, the momentarily tense mood is often pushed into the experiential stage only by the preceding expressive act of a member, as by a signal, and this member is thus temporarily placed in the role of leader. This will always take place in connection with a narrower or wider partial community of life, on the other hand there is no group in which the element of mood is fully missing; it is even present in associations directed towards a common purpose, although it is relatively rare there. In value groups (eg religious communities) it is even very pronounced. In the family we find that father and mother, the leaders of the community, are at the same time the given leaders in carrying out individual experiences. Here, the atmosphere experience is built in as one of the highlights of the entire shared lifestyle.



Since a group does not regularly correspond to a pure type, but contains different elements, this is also the case with leadership. E.g.: The constitutional monarch is the representative of the nation; he is a thoughtful leader at the same time; he shares the latter function with parliament and the government.


In the target association we also find such a mixture of types and a division of functions. The chairman is the organizer and member of the thought-provoking board. He himself is also a thought leader, inasmuch as some measures are left to his discretion. At the same time, he represents the “club” to the outside world. Often there is also a so-called honorary presidency, which is purely decorative, most of the time, as a honorary president a personality is selected who has hardly any connection with the club, but who, due to the high public reputation, should give the club a certain appearance ("prestige").

It is interesting to see how, when different leadership positions are combined into one leader personality, the relationship between the members and the leader differs in different situations in life, as he/she sometimes appears in one position and then in another. For example, in a club there can be fierce opposition against the chairman in his “thinking and organizing function”, but if the association celebrates a festival and the chairman appears as the given leader in voicing expression during hours of high tension, the opposition is buried and unanimity established. It is here that it becomes clear that what is commonly known as the contradiction between the masses and the leader is a contradiction between the personality of the leader and the individual members. It emerges where and insofar as the members individually are active critics, which is the case in a consultation. In mood representations, they act as a “we”, not as egos.





Formally, the leader is the one who fulfills the leadership role, regardless of whether he is fit and "called" for this role or not. Precisely because not everyone who fills a leadership role has to be qualified or appointed to do so, the question of the source of the authority to fill the leadership role is justified and necessary, at least in addition to the question of appointment or suitability for leadership.

This question confronts us with the problem of authority and prestige. Usually authority is understood to mean factual or superhuman based superiority, and prestige or “magical power” as personal based superiority. When we ask about the ideal leader, we should demand that he combines both qualities to the maximum.

Authority depends on the office, on the function. On the other hand, personal prestige can contribute to the attainment of leadership and to the support of public authority.


The simplest type of leadership is the type that we might describe as: “the right to leadership based on nature”. Primal conditions prefer this simplest also the leading role of the “elder”. This type was given the greatest practical importance in the monarchy. It more or less mixes with a second type, the transcendent type of leadership or the leadership from above. The location of this type is the value-oriented group. The leader derives his authority to lead from his proximity to values.


By hierarchy we mean a management system of subordinates, middle leaders, and leaders, ranked from the point of view of value. E.g. Hierarchy appeared where a group of religious values ​​entered the historical stage of ecclesiastical organization, which requires the kingdom of God on earth for its earthly existence. If the practically necessary hierarchy is directed to the point of view of closeness to values, the strict interdependence of the community element of the value connection with the social element of order is preserved even after this element of order has reached the stage of statute. The hierarchy as a phenomenon of order is derived from the common values ​​and is therefore unassailable.

When applied to bureaucracy, the term "hierarchy" means that your rank in the system gives you unassailable dignity and the primacy of higher powers. ("He's the superior, that's why he's smarter.")

The idea of ​​the transcendent right to leadership is combined in the monarchy with the idea of ​​the natural right to leadership. Everywhere, the ordination and anointing of the king probably aims to affirm the natural right to rule through the transcendent right of divine grace. Deification of the leader takes place only after his/her death. Geiger gives the example of the Swedish king Gustav Adolf, who said, as he drove into the city of Naumburg in 1632 and was worshiped and venerated almost like a divine being: “I don't like that they worship me as if I am God; it could mean to me that I am nearing my end.” He was indeed killed two months later.


The right from above is opposed to the right from below, of the transfer of confidence of office through membership. If the leader draws his source of authority from the community element of "essential affinity in value", then the appointment of the leader means the derivation of authority from the social element of order. The more the more democratic the electoral process is, the more it is based on equality of all members. The election of the leader in the democratic system stems from election law, which the deputy invokes as an act of confidence on the part of his voters.


A special type is the leadership based on achievement and success, represented in purity by the dictator. Achievements and successes do not make the dictator; there must also be the feeling of being addressed within oneself. “Achievement and success do not yet make the dictator; there has to be a sense of calling in himself; just as little does this belief in vocation alone, without the authority of achievement and the prestige of success, suffice for more than an adventure ending with the curse of ridicule (e.g. Kapp Putsch).” Both moments must work together. Geiger expressly speaks of performance and success, whereby he puts the main emphasis on the second. The dictator is the example of an “outstanding personality” who rises to the official role of leader. The dictator himself justifies his usurpation with his successes and wins and the members of the group tolerate him for the same reason - often despite violent internal opposition, which, given the man's successes, they are reluctant to show openly.


The failure that shakes a leader's prestige must undermine the dictator's authority because it is directly based on prestige. The first failure opens the mouth of the hitherto grim and stupid opposition.


Napoleon shows all the essential features of the dictatorial type: the dictator's dependence on success in appearing; on failure in leaving; the bondage of his appearance to a crisis; the lack of tight leadership or widespread dissatisfaction with the existing leadership; a general confusion and helplessness allows the candidate for dictatorship with a relatively small number of adherents to risk the usurpation.


One wrongly speaks of a tyranny by the dictator's clique over the overwhelming majority. This "tyranny" - including that of the military dictator - could never be explained by violence, but by the perplexity, helplessness and inaction of the inwardly reluctant majority.


The dictatorship always tends to be either a military dictatorship - because the most visible successes can be achieved in the military field (Napoleon as General of the Republic), or a dictatorship of demagoguery - because of oratorical and theatrical successes (e.g. Mussolini) also brings non-existent achievements high prestige.




In a family there is no selection of the leader, and this goes too for the case of pure dictatorship, but in a very different sense. Here we could speak of self-selection; but achievement and success do not in themselves make a dictator a dictator. It requires a dictatorial act of will, the usurpation, but this is nothing but the decisive sign that the usurper, on the basis of his conviction, "chooses himself as leader"; whether his beliefs are correct will be shown by how group membership responds to this act of self-selection.


The selection of the democratic leader does not take place through the election itself, but "behind the scenes". From the voters' point of view, the election act itself is an act of party identification; when voting on a list, the voter does not choose a specific person at all; if I select a specific person, I don't know if this person will lift it to a seat in parliament. But even when it comes to personal elections, from the outset the individual voter has only a limited "choice" insofar as his ballot is only valid if it refers to an approved candidate. The candidate is nominated by a pre-existing leadership, or, if we look at the mechanism of the modern party system, by its leaders. The closer we get to the form of pure democracy, the more the type of selection and the legal source of leadership will converge. Getting as close as possible to this agreement is the biggest problem of democracy.




A spatial organization of the leadership takes place in groups, which in turn are spatially organized. Here, the global group (cadre group) should be seen as one and the individual local groups (federal states, association local groups, etc.) should be seen as subgroups (element groups). From a socio-legal perspective, leadership is not leadership of people, but of group rights, i.e. it does not mean: a person is better than a leader but it means: a group has several leaders.

  1. b) There is a division of powers or tasks. The division of tasks then consists in the fact that the individual functions of leadership are transferred to different leader personalities. We therefore call this division of functions false plural leadership because and insofar as each leader is one leader in the field of his specially defined function; thinking, representing, caring, etc. are assigned to different persons as separate tasks. However, with fine dissection in our social life, we come across the division of labor nowadays everywhere, not only in state life, where since Montesquieu it has become an inalienable principle under the name of “dividing the government”, otherwise the division of labor celebrates true orgies and over-organization. Let's remember for a moment that every smallest group has two, three or more governing bodies (individual bodies or collegia): chairman, board of directors, committee and perhaps a representative honorary chairman.


We speak of a leadership college where a majority of fundamentally equal people together fulfill the leading role within a group. As a rule, this is only the case for “thinking” and organizing leadership.

The higher the number of members, the more they depend as a whole on approval or rejection in the masses. This is remedied by the College, which is made up of Party members from different or all directions, so that overly subjective coloring is avoided in the interpretation of the common will. The authority of the individual leader is no match for the rationalist-critical spirit that characterizes our social age; it can only be appeased by collective responsibility.


To that extent, the need for collegial leadership in an age of rationalization of social life is psychologically justified. This rationalization goes hand in hand with a strong division of diverse social issues and tasks, which is an actual motivation for collegial leadership rather than individual leadership. Even within a relatively small group it is difficult to get an overview of the tasks facing the leadership because the group, although a simple structure in itself, is built into a very complex general fabric of social life through a variety of relationships. This clarity and high degree of structuring is taken into account not only by the division of leadership functions among multiple personalities, but also by true multiple leadership in collegiate form.


Like the individual leader, the member of the college of leaders is associated with the group as a whole in a particularly close way - more intimately than the 'regular' members. This is already due to the fact that in the existence of the leader colleagues, group life usually occupies a larger space due to the fulfillment of the tasks of the leader. However, it can happen that the individual leader personality strays from the "service to the whole idea" and puts itself at the center, also in the leadership college: the solidarity of the members of the leadership college can reach a degree that is no longer compatible with the service of the college to the group as a whole. Such a case would arise, for example, if the political groups deliberately and against their conviction act in parliamentary haggling to avoid the dissolution of parliament, which is necessary because of the situation of the case and because of a clear impossibility of objective and fair agreement.


The realization of the special joint responsibility for the whole as a whole gives the leadership team its own character. The leading role is jointly borne by the Board.

The actual activity of the collegium in the individual is by no means, as is often the case with the activity of a group, a communal one, in the real sense 'connected'. The essence, meaning and value of the college lies precisely in the fact that each of its members is effective as an individual. Feelings are shared with others and experienced in connection with them; they exchange thoughts. Each member of the college has a moral duty to form his own opinion, i.e. to keep an eye on the common will of the whole group and to interpret it judiciously in relation to the given situation; and it has the right to present its interpretation. Decision-making itself means that this content is emotionally grasped by a suprapersonal community as the content of the common will and invested with the authority of the community. Here again, the plenary has only the possibility of criticism and a relatively limited amendment. His resolution on the leader's college proposal is essentially sentimental, as it is technically unsuitable for an actual exchange of views due to the sheer number of members. To a certain extent, the plenary group meeting for consultation and decision-making can also be regarded as a collegiate body: the greater the number of members, the more the cool administrative considerations withdraw behind the emotional impulses and excitement when making the decision. It is therefore also consistently important that the basic emotional will is precisely determined by means of the referendum according to the Constitution; it is therefore only possible to vote yes or no; any intermediary position is impossible.

Very often the negative attitude of the plenary to a resolution proposed by the leadership committee is not reflected in an amendment to the proposal, but in the referral back to the thinking committee for further discussion, with certain aspects of criticism (negative!) given.

The plenary meeting of a House of Representatives is already very emotional and the compulsion of the political groups does not contribute much to this. In general, the anti-democrat suspends the collegiate interpretation of the general will by demanding a result that is neither fish nor meat and often takes back with the subordinate clause what the main clause describes. That's not entirely wrong; but the criticism is futile in so far as there is no other choice; in a time of little authority there is no other way of interpreting the common will in view of the consent of the whole. And it is still better to agree on a somewhat colorless interpretation than no agreement at all.

The chairman's excellent intellectual superiority or negotiation skills and culpable inaction on the part of colleagues sometimes lead to undue decision-making power on the part of the chairman and to a kind of democratic-parliamentary despotism.


Sociologically, the question of the true authorship of thoughts is irrelevant; he is not "leader" who has decisively influenced the formulations decided by parliament; leader in a sociological sense is the person or collegium called upon to elevate a certain content of thought into the content of the common will through his decision.


It may very well happen that the autonomy of a college of leaders is really less suitable than the authorship of a highly respected person advising the thoughtful college to ensure a thought content immediate recognition by the whole; but then we are dealing with a leadership crisis. For the purposes of this statement, it is completely unjustified to designate mere advisory bodies as leaders, whether it be the syndicate of an industrial company or the committee of experts of a parliament. They only find a specific thought content, which, however, only becomes the basis of an act of leadership when the individual or collective body equipped with leadership power elevates this thought content by means of a resolution to the common will. Such experts are often not even tasked with proposing a decision, but with merely providing the non-expert decision-making body with the factual evidence for the decision - just as the expert does not propose an opinion, but only clarifies on professional manner facts on which the court can base its decision.

The mere advisory function of colleges (or individuals) is often superficially very close to that of thought leadership; often there is even an interaction between these two forms.

Nevertheless, the purely advisory type must be conceptually clearly separated from the self-responsible type sensible, thoughtful type.




The "ruling class" shows us a very different picture. This is plural leadership only in a limited and conditional sense - Waiting to assume leadership roles, this class of people itself has no leadership function as a whole, nor does it consist of leaders.


In principle, the leading estate has nothing in common with the ruling class or its degeneracy, the clique of leaders. Its essence consists in the fact that as a whole it plays the leading role. This means it is a closed group.

The status differs from the leader class, which is fundamentally open - in the sense of promotion and relegation - by closing itself off from the outside world. The class in its pure form also lacks the inner unity in the sense of the group character. It's not a group, it's a layer.


As the development of the nation-state progresses, the nobility loses its status. Montesquieu and Simmel rightly point out that tyranny and autocracy are not the grounds on which nobility can thrive.

The purpose of this paragraph was only to show the variability of the sociological meaning of "class" in general and of nobility in particular. One sees to what extent internal motives and developmental traits are involved in these fluctuations, running together with external motives in a way that can hardly be disentangled.




In this chapter Geiger applies his theoretical views to the realities of social life. To this end, he takes two particularly important social life forms as examples and outlines the leadership relationships within them: (1) the life of the state, which is characterized by the highest personal, planned organization and (2) the relationship between master and followers, the essential feature of which is precisely the lack of planned organization and the master's personal, intimate relationship with his followers.



(queen, statesman, official)

The nation as a unity of mind, habit and economy (in the broadest sense) only needs leadership in a representative sense. This representation can be given in the leadership of a monarch, president, or in estate form. The people as a unit of the cultural way of life lacks a definite fixed order and does not need any fundamentally thought-out leadership. The representative type of leadership (outside and inside) predominates here. The internal representation and the external representation can fall under two different administrative bodies.


As the classes disintegrate, so do the civilized people lose their inner unity; the international merging tendency of intellectual life and the national separating class formation are shaking the very existence of the intellectual identity of the people. The replacement unit is the state-nation (which today is commonly referred to as "nation" in general). In it the unity of the state life form is accepted as the content of intellectual connection - or rather: desired.

The board functions are divided over different bodies, but these two management systems are intertwined here and there.

If we now look at the state (political) leadership system of the people, e.g. the monarchical form of leadership is already characterized by the fact that the national representation to the outside world is united in one body with the top of the politically thinking leadership. Whether the "king" is absolute as leader of the state, whether he shares leadership with a representative of the people, and in whatever way his jurisdiction is delineated in relation to it, he embodies in himself not only that which is the actual state, but also that of the state the cultural-ethnic unity of the population. As a state leader he can play a completely different role in this.

Since the factor of external organization and group self-affirmation in the environment is strongly emphasized in the social life form of the state, the thinking and organizational organizing leadership plays the decisive role in the state. In terms of the doctrine of the separation of powers, the two correspond: law and government. (The judiciary is not actually a leadership position.)

In the absolutist state, the monarch is the sole head of state.

Neither the civil service nor the estate assembly have a leading function besides the absolute monarch. The House of Estates advises and expresses wishes. The civil service never acts on its own authority, but on behalf of the monarch, without whose consent there is no valid official act.


In the parliamentary monarchy, the matter is much more complicated, because here we have three governing bodies side by side: the king, the parliament and the government, which here does not have the character of a civil servant, but exercises its functions independently.


The finer the structure of the organ system, the more complications there are. In fact, the entire era of democratic thought is a history of attempts to make political leadership issues as elusive as possible. The result is a gigantic device that, because of its occasional ingenuity, may be just as oppressive - just in a different way - as one with less articulate organs.


This, according to Geiger, is not a rejection of parliamentarism, let alone democracy; because under certain general conditions, a different structure of the management system is not conceivable. “However, parliamentarism in its current (1928) form is unlikely to have a long life, because the areas of friction within it are too large and too numerous.”


There is no essential sociological difference between the parliamentary monarchy and the parliamentary republic. The President of the Republic is also in one person a representative of the unity of the people and a participant in the thoughtful, organizational and organizing state political leadership.


The bureaucracy as a whole, does not seem to us to be the actual leadership of the state people. In relation to the people of the state, the officer is only an official, i.e. he/she is an executive organ. In an absolute monarchy, the monarch is not really bound to the decisions by the house of estate, but he is only dependent on it for factual (financial and tax political) reasons. In the constitutional monarchy, monarch and parliament rule together. The ministers of the constitutional monarch are appointed officials with delegated powers, therefore only executive organs in relation to the people, but organizational leaders in relation to the officials of their department.

In the parliamentary state, ministers are not only in their totality as cabinet a leadership college next to parliament and the president, but each also a self-employed leader within their department. Ministers are thus not civil servants in a sociological sense.


The bureaucracy as a whole, however, is an impersonal institutional apparatus that has an executive rather than a leading function.


A public office is not a group, but an institution. The officials of a government are mutually the carriers of a group on the basis of joint work (collegiality). And within this circle of people assigned to the individual lever of the official apparatus, there is an organizational leadership.


This subordinate, purely executive role in the sense of our functionary type, in principle, belongs to the civil service; it is expressed in the fact that the officer is appointed by the de facto management and can be dismissed. In his function he is therefore a completely dependent executive body. This does not prevent the civil service as such or a single senior official from acquiring a position of power that conflicts with this essentially sole executive role.


The monarch remains a true leader from a sociological point of view, as long as he does not blindly sign his chancellor's decrees like a powerless shadow king. Bismarck, according to Geiger, was much better than Emperor William I; but he had no will to usurp; he influenced the monarch as an adviser, but continued to feel like his official. The formal sociological structure was therefore unaltered by his intellectual superiority, however important historically.

As the conditions of a state become entangled and elude the view of the individual monarch, the demands on the independent function of the civil service must increase and thus lead to a supplantation of monocracy by a bureaucracy.


The usurpation of leadership by the highest advisory official generally means only a change of leader; instead of an inherited dynasty, another appears, initially in the form of a dictatorship. It is quite different, however, with an increasing complexity of the conditions of the state to be managed. Here there is a threat of the conquest of power by the expert civil servants as a whole and thus not a change of leader, but a fundamental change in the system of government. The personal weakness and lack of talent of a monarch is then only an external reason for the implementation of a long-prepared change: genuine absolutism becomes absolutistically masked bureaucracy, the civil servant state.


The official state is largely similar to the so-called feudal state. The civil service as a whole appears as a closed class and dominates the rest of the population. In the bureaucratic state, the power of the monarch has been taken away from the bureaucracy; he is still the representative leader of the state people and is, like the elective emperor of the feudal epoch, the representative tip of a pyramid structuring the ruling class (here: civil servants). Externally and visibly, hardly anything needs to change in the constitution.


It is quite clear that this development is only conceivable on the basis of absolutism. In a constitutional monarchy, even more so in a parliamentary state, there is no pivotal point at which alone the switch to bureaucracy can begin: the sole superior expertise of a thoroughly organized civil service.


The real parliament is a certain protection against the bureaucracy. Parliamentary democracy is threatened from another side: from the clique of leaders of the parties.


A precondition for the emergence of bureaucracy is, of course, a pronounced unity among the civil service; therefore Prussia was much more bureaucratized than the German South, where the civil service was not so closely related to the land and court nobility and the top officials always consisted of the peasant and commercial middle classes.



The word "followership" has a double meaning: in a narrow sense it means a historically determined form of social group formation, but at the same time in a broader sense it means a form of leadership succession that is characteristic of this type of group. The essence of the followership is that a personality as a whole becomes the core of the group.

Pure fidelity as a permanent form is sobering in an age of unstructured social life. If we had to classify such a form historically, we would assign it to the age of primitive cooperative forms. Today, the loyalty principle still plays a not to be underestimated role in two respects:

  1. First, many social ties include loyalty;
  2. On the other hand, a followership stage of temporary duration can be demonstrated in the history of numerous value-based and sentimental groups.

Case 2 is best illustrated by a brief discussion of religion, sect, and church.


By sect we mean a closed community with a radical character. The fidelity of the relationship between Christ and his early followers cannot be overlooked, nor the sectarian nature of this circle. A sect can also be thought of in a purely cooperative form; this does not contradict the previously stated assumption that cults always arise in a spirit of fidelity.

As master of his business, Christ works until his death. From there, the group of followers as such has been broken up because the personality that was effective for them as the content of their lives has been destroyed. At this moment Christ becomes a myth, he becomes a hero, an object of worship. Among those who have known the "dead master" alive, who continue the image of his personality in their own living memories, the union of followers can still be lived in forms of piety. With them, however, this last echo of pure fidelity eventually dies out.


If the followship as such is doomed to extinction with modern-day disciples when the Master dies, there is something else left for it to survive: in his teaching the Master left behind a work of objective content and substance for an indefinitely long-lasting social bond: the religious movement and church is born.


What characterizes the sect?

  1. Its content is a teaching that fundamentally standardizes all human existence on the basis of a concept of the highest value.
  2. This doctrine is developed and formed in the exclusive work of the sectarian circle.

The secret nature of the teaching, which considerably supports exclusivity, is not an essential requirement. It usually happens under the influence of other circumstances, especially in the case of persecution.

  1. It is lived by the sectarians with the utmost disapproval of any compromise with the forces of reality.
  2. The sect is indeed exclusive as such, but carries with it the idea of ​​diffusion. It is not their law to remain exclusive forever. Rather, it corresponds to the life-forming character of the idea, which is the content of the sect, that this idea, once developed into education, is "carried into the world." All spiritual content wants to have absolute validity; the sect can only justify itself by demanding universality and by striving for universal recognition. The sect, at least in its initial phase, is nothing more than a group of people preparing to become leaders of the converted armies in the later phase of the spread of the doctrine. The sect turns into a leadership with the transition to the expansion phase. That is exactly the point of the cult. The dissemination itself takes place in the form of the missionaries (apostles) of the sect (they are bearers of a “mission”) appearing as preachers in the wide world. Sometimes both phases run parallel to each other for a while.


Returning now to Christianity as an example where the sectarian stage in fidelity begins; teaching is the work of a master. He passes his teachings on to those he has gathered around him. His life will pass. As long as he lives, the teaching grows; as long as he lives and teaches, no one can say it is finished; the master is still there, holding his work in his hands and adding new functions to it, modeling it. (Basically, of course, the master usually creates the teaching material in solitary seclusion before the start of the teaching activity.)


The history of Christ's life already clearly shows how the formation of a following paralleled a certain expansion. A part of those who faithfully receive the word of the master joined him and now constantly follow him on his wanderings; radicalism does not deny itself and at the same time forms the exclusive wall; whoever wants to follow must leave his own family members and his belongings. He must separate himself from the world.


With the death of the master, his teaching is complete. He leaves them as an inheritance. From that moment on, the paths of personal loyalty and education separate. The process of dogmatization begins with the final determination of the master's teachings by the "evangelists" or whatever the master's envoys call themselves in individual cases.

This process then progresses considerably once the formation of "churches" has progressed to the point where the direct followers of the master can no longer personally and exclusively supervise the cultivation of the doctrine in all the congregations. As soon as intermediaries have to be called in, as soon as the cultivation of the doctrine can no longer take place exclusively in a closed circle of life, dogmatic determination becomes a practically unavoidable need.


The spread of the teaching begins with the formation of "communities"; with this the doctrine enters the social stage of the "movement", which is characterized by the bound nature of its forms. This is where the clash with reality begins; reality must be adapted to doctrine, but doctrine must also be adapted to reality. Doctrine and life are no longer so closely linked as soon as the follower remains attached to his other spheres of life. From that moment on, pure education separates itself h depends on the practical morality derived from it - a duality alien to the main doctrine and the exclusive sect.


Sectarian radicalism must give way to a mediating practical morality as soon as the exclusivity of the sectarian stage is abandoned in the transition to the movement stage.

Becoming ecclesiastical does not only mean the transition to a fixed organization - which becomes necessary as soon as the movement, large and grown, can only be surveyed by structure. Church formation also means that, in addition to the actual pure teaching, an applied teaching, a moral code attuned to "practical life" in its present form, is developed and taught.

Verily, the return of the Master means the destruction of what has become of his teaching. He can add nothing to his teachings once a practical morality is built upon it. The gospel must remain closed as an unshakable foundation once it has been handed down to posterity. The whole history of the Church and the validity of moral teaching rests on the completed Gospel as its cornerstone.

The return of the master marks the beginning of a new magical phase. New radicalism threatens the validity of the hard-won compromise morality.

As a mythical figure, the master is a stronghold of faith. The magical power of his name is a tool used by ecclesiastical authority. The myth surrounding the master almost becomes a facade for the layman. Social reason is okay with that. The pure radical doctrine is unhistorical, it demands eternal validity.

The dead saint is not dangerous to ecclesiastical (church) authority; on the contrary, the Church can appropriate it as a mythical figure and insert it as a precious jewel in the mythical treasures it holds.

The teaching of life, which rests on the gospel, is temporary (with the historical change of life) and the interpretation of the gospel is subjectively (according to the interpreting subject) changeable.





The pivot of our thinking thus far has been the sentence: leadership is primarily for the group itself as a whole, not for the members of the group as a multitude of individual people. The leadership therefore only extends to the things that are socialized in the group.

Just as we have distinguished in man between his quality as a group member and his quality as an independent personality, so we must also distinguish a double meaning in the confrontation between leader and crowd.

  1. First, there is the tension between the leader and the group as a whole (Samtschaft).
  2. On the other hand, there is the tension between the leader and the personalities of the other members.

The untrained observer of social life simply sees the groups as a plurality of individuals and therefore cannot distinguish between the two tensions, but sees each tension or contrast from the second point of view mentioned here. Recognizing only the outwardly observable facts, but paying no attention to their psychological background, he sees only the more or less opposite counterposition of many people on the one hand and one or a few on the other, without asking about the deeper meaning of this opposite. To complete the distortion of the picture, there is also the idea that harmonious coexistence is the only thing that promotes society, but any conflict is considered socially destructive - about the most wrong idea one can have of social life.

The whole of cultural life is based on the fertilizing effect of tensions that constantly take place between groups on the one hand and personalities on the other, and which manifest themselves as a conflict of motives in every person.

Of course, the further we go back in the social development of humanity, the less developed this tension is; this corresponds to the much slower timing of cultural development in earlier eras of human history. This tension found a climax, perhaps an excess of development, in the ancient world and in the modern Western world.


Now let's look at the leader's relationship with his crowd and its significance to the life of the group.

  1. The leader represents and embodies the group as a whole. That is its special position in relation to members. But then at the same time there is a certain tension between the personality of the leader and the personalities of the other members, a tension which lies in the nature of the matter itself and can therefore be called "natural".

In general, everyone who belongs to a group is constantly under tension. The poles of this tension are on the one hand the connection with the comrades (collective community) and on the other hand one's own personality as it is, as a stubborn individuality and with her other group ties. We see this tension as an inevitable conflict between our social and individual interests in life. As a personality I know that I am embodied in my physical and mental I, which thus represents one pole of tension. But the community to which I belong is represented by its leader, who thus appears as the counterpart of this tension.

But it is far from the truth that from this point of view people would be opposed to each other. A very simple line of thought makes this clear.

The leader leads and represents the group. He/she also belongs to it. In a sense, the leader even leads himself. - Also in the leader there is that tension of personal and collective motives and impulses - as with any other member. But just as the leader's position is special, so this tension has a very special color in him. We have tried to characterize them before and pointed out that the conflict of motives in the leader can become particularly tragic.

To that extent the tension between the leader and the members of the group is nothing but the outward tension of the collective and personal form of man. The most typical practical example is the conflict that arises when the leader reminds his gang of their duties to the common cause, encountering the slowness of the members in resistance.

Since the leader always represents the claims of the group towards his members to some extent - that is his job - he supports his person the cost of the motive fight that takes place in each member. The member likes to hold the leader responsible as the culprit for the unease that arises from the member putting aside his own personality in favor of the whole.


Until now it has been about the leader in his capacity as such and about the members of the group as personalities. This tension would thus correspond to the relationship of man to the group or to the relationship of the We and the I-for-me in man.


It is a different kind of tension when we think of the personality of the leader as opposed to the personalities of the members. This tension corresponded to the kind of personal relationships between group members, which were determined by the “we”. The significance of this tension, especially in the modern social life of the democratic style, was shown above by the example of the thoughtful leadership and the college. This contradiction is essential to the life form of a modern-democratic style, and corresponds to one of its vital functions.


  1. It is quite another thing if the leader as a personality comes into a very specific contrast with the group as such. This brings us to the relationship known as the violent subjection of the group to the leader's interests and wishes.

In the juxtaposition of personal and group motives, which exists and is active in the leader as well as in every other member, the personal motives can be decisively predominant, so much so that the group connection seems to me only important as a tool for the execution of personal goals. and ambitions or as a platform for personal development of power. Whether an ambitious aspirant from the beginning only aspired to the position of leader to create such a platform for himself that he previously deceived the comrades and then, after conquering the position of leader, emerged as the one he really is; albeit also that the position of authority made his head spin and caused a hunger for power. The leader is always more or less lonely, laden with heavy responsibilities. And not everyone can tolerate the icy mountain air. In one it causes a feeling of weakness and makes him dizzy - the self-confidence of the other increases it to delusions of grandeur.

In practice, such subordination of the collective to the personal means that man falls outside the framework of the connectedness of being. With each member, this only meant that the group had in it an incompetent comrade or just a follower who either reconformed or was gradually eliminated as a foreign body.

With the leader, who has the full authority of the group, there are greater dangers: his special position can cause extraordinary damage, especially if he is a mentally superior person and the members as such lack the necessary caution and activity. The leader may then be able to violently subjugate the community, deprive members of their collective right to self-determination, or cleverly disguise their disenfranchisement.

If the group does not find the strength to If not, the result is likely to be a disintegration of the group in some way.

This danger is not even greatest with a single leader, but with multiple leadership. This is especially true in modern parliamentary democracy. A leadership composed of several or numerous people can deprive them of membership much more easily than a single leader and rule them over their own heads.


Impressed by particularly strong friction in our social life, the present (1928) is experiencing a socio-romantic movement (compare: Ferdinand Tönnies’ ideas of Gemeinschaft) which, unlike modern forms of social life, prefers to point to the simpler, "closer to nature", less contradictory forms of life. Organizational hostility and a certain enthusiastic community cult belong there. In the same vein and from the same source, we hear much about the pathology of our relationship with leaders and are promoted less tense forms of leadership. Especially the form of obedience to the leadership. We do not deny that our present period suffers from an excess of stresses, and that in many cases increasing distance - such as too great a distance between the pistons of an induction device - seems to prevent the sparks from jumping.


On the other hand, as sighted people, we must become familiar with and accept that the forms of social life today are necessarily different from those of earlier eras. From a sociological and socio-psychological point of view, human history presents itself as an increasingly refined separation of social life, as a branching of social ties according to special aspirations and interests and at the same time as an increasing personality development with self-esteem and with increasing social connections of people. Just as in the most primitive social life the structuring of social existence in different spheres of meaning, so in the most primitive man the development of his being “we” with others and his I-for-me in clear separation from the others to polar tension is already built in the bud.

To view the development of these germs as pathological degeneration is nothing but anti-cultural thinking. For only through and in this division and tension can cultural values ​​- however dubious their individual value seem to us - grow in such creative fullness.


To balance the more peaceful forms of yesteryear against the tension of modern social life also means unhistorical, i.e. unreal, thinking. There is no "back", only "forward". It goes without saying that small groups of people who are tied to a master personality are easier to rule than the groups of our time, who do not believe very much in authority. However, it is equally clear that the follower type, even if it no longer fits today, is the basic type of leadership in our time.


The groups are easier to rule, and the individual feels less controlled, the greater the general human similarity of all group members among themselves, and the greater the area of ​​the whole life process that is socialized in a group — i.e., the simpler and scarcer the whole social life is. The finer the ramifications of the social structure, the more diverse the possibilities of different combinations of social ties in the individual, the greater the number of groups to which each individual belongs, and the weaker the cohesion of each individual group, the more independent and idiosyncratic individual people are as personalities. The emphasis on individuality in our view of life is increasing (individualism). Large, densely populated groups, bringing together people of very different personalities and philosophies, are more difficult to manage than the small, intimate groups of the early days. The moment of enlightenment can be added and increases the moments of friction. The group of independent, enlightened, self-responsible thinking personalities is less likely to tolerate a leader thinking for them than a group of people who evolved more towards the side of the mind. However, as we have made clear, it is a very difficult task to get all members of a group to really actively participate in the formation of the group's will. This task is not only difficult in itself, but it is made particularly difficult by the fact that the same people who, as enlightened and self-responsible personalities, demand the right to self-determination, on the other hand, tend to be more prone to criticism than positive participation in shaping the world. fate of the group.

Thus, the sources of friction lie essentially in the composition of current life and in the style of the contemporary view of life. The sworn enemies of much-maligned individualism have quite rightly acknowledged this - but they are throwing the baby out with the bath water when they declare war on the individual, throwing us into the cozy twilight warmth of early cooperative life forms or pointing us back into the austere world of heroic cult rule. The personality remains the highest possession of the children on earth and, in spite of all social reactions, will not be at the expense of earlier forms.


The friction that our social structure exhibits today will not be overcome by stepping back, but by moving towards a new way of living. To which? We can't know. For now, it remains our job to clarify the sources of the conflicts in which we are trapped and to face those conflicts fairly.


It is our right to keep a close eye on our leaders - in the circle of whatever group it is. It is our right to criticize, our right and our duty to participate in the election of leaders, where the selection is by ballot. But it is also a duty to appreciate the task of the leader, to consider the difficulty and responsibility of his/her position and not to judge his behavior childishly from a frog's perspective, but to put himself as a critic in the position of the leader.

In countless cases where the self-interest of the leader is complained about, in reality it is mostly about the self-interest of the criticizing member. For each member, the group and its meaning is presented in a special color and lighting that corresponds to the personality. And everyone is very happy to see his or her particular opinion as the only one that is justified and beneficial - often without that overview that the leader gains from his elevated position. Resentment at the leader's actions, which in our opinion does not correspond to what is generally accepted, is often no more than one's own disguised thirst for power and dogmatism.

The leader's responsibility lies in the fact that his thoughts and actions are not directed at him alone, but fall back to the entire group. The follower's responsibility lies in the fact that frivolous criticism and insufficiently motivated judgments of the leader complicate the leader's task and thus harm the group as a whole.

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